top of page


Passionate, purpose-driven educators, organizers, and community leaders.

VOL was founded by folks who have witnessed or experienced injustice themselves and believe that personal and social transformation are interconnected. Through our experiences, research, and countless conversations with people from different communities and walks of life, we’ve identified patterns of systemic inequity, and developed a curriculum to evolve these patterns into a new blueprint for a more loving and inclusive future. 


Our mission to train Visionary Organizers who can create a more dignity-affirming and empathetic world is driven by our belief in the transformative powers of creativity and connection.


Matt Birkhold (he/him)

Connective Energy Organizer (CEO) & Teacher-Facilitator

Ashley Johns (she/her)

Interim Director of Finance and Bookings
Mable Mondia 
Marketing and Promotions Organizer

Matt has been a consistent influence in VOL’s development from a volunteer collective to a systematic educational laboratory.

Ashley is a dynamic creative strategist and storyteller with a profound passion for business development.

Mable is devoted to identifying and understanding processes for community healing through art, research, intentional connection, and experimentation.


Similar to a board of directors, VOL's Advisory Work Group provides counsel, coaching, and problem solving support for our work. It is made up of some of the smartest, most dynamic, and grounded people around.

James & Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, Detroit
George Mason University, Washington, DC
Derute Consulting Cooperative, Chicago
University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
Open Society Foundation, Baltimore
2021 - Professional Headshot_Shawn Whitehorn[76].jpg
10162020EW-2 (headshot).jpg

Shawn Whitehorn (he/him)

Lab Technician

Shawn is a curious systems-thinker, facilitator, artist, designer, lifelong learner, and dot-connector.

Ebony Williams (she/her)
Student Teacher-Facilitator

Ebony practices community self-reliance as founder of Ancient Beauty, an urban agricultural non-profit in Detroit, and has worked extensively with Feedom Freedom Growers.

bottom of page